2023 was a monumental year for technology, defined by major advancements in artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented reality, and foldable devices. Several key themes emerged:
AI continued its meteoric rise, with chatbots like ChatGPT demonstrating new capabilities for natural conversation. Meta, Google, Microsoft and others raced to develop AI assistants and creators. But concerns also mounted over AI bias, misinformation, and job displacement. Government regulation looms as a critical question for the AI sector in 2024 and beyond.
Virtual and augmented reality started delivering on long-hyped potential. Sony and Meta released advanced VR headsets, while Apple is rumored to launch an AR/VR headset in 2023. 5G networks and advanced hand tracking brought more immersive experiences within reach. Healthcare, training, gaming and even social connection stand to benefit.
Foldable smartphones finally found a formula that clicked with mainstream buyers in 2023. Samsung led the charge as screens got bigger, durability improved and prices declined. OnePlus, Motorola and others joined the foldables party. This new form factor promises to change how we interact with our devices.
Other key trends included crypto’s ongoing slump, Twitter’s chaotic year under Elon Musk, the rise of ChatGPT alternatives, space exploration milestones, EVs going more mainstream with the Ford F-150 Lightning, advances in solar technology and battery storage, and much more.
Let’s explore some of the top tech stories of 2023 in more detail:
AI Comes of Age…and Under Scrutiny
2022 was the year AI burst into the mainstream with ChatGPT. 2023 was the year it demonstrated how much further it still has left to go across various industries.
AI is enabling more natural voice interfaces, powering autocorrect and predictive text, identifying objects in images, detecting fraud, screening job candidates, creating art and music, optimizing supply chains – the list goes on. Global AI investment surpassed $100 billion for the first time in 2023.
|2023 AI Investment
|Growth vs 2022
But concerns are rising about bias in AI systems and tilt toward profit over public good. Policymakers, ethicists and even some tech leaders warn AI could exacerbate inequality, enable surveillance, and disrupt labor markets.
In late 2023, Google engineers raised alarms about the company’s AI ethics practices after being told not to discuss “sensitive topics.” Microsoft president Brad Smith has called for government oversight before general AI gets too advanced. AI regulation will likely advance in 2024 in the U.S. and abroad.
The race is on to make AI trustworthy before it becomes too powerful. Striking the right balance won’t be easy – but getting governance right early may determine whether AI remains an overall positive for humanity.
Metaverse 1.0 Arrives
Virtual and augmented reality have been heralded for years as the next computing platform. The long wait for the “Metaverse” to materialize with mass appeal may finally be over after key moves in 2023 by Meta, Sony, Apple and others.
At $1,500, Meta’s high-end Quest Pro headset remains niche – but demonstrates the rapid pace of progress with advanced mixed reality capabilities for work collaboration. Apple is rumored to launch both a VR headset and AR glasses next year.
Sony’s PS VR2 has been a hit with gamers thanks to exclusive titles, advanced eye tracking and haptic feedback. 5G networks enable streaming without wires. Hand tracking allows for controller-free gesture control.
Healthcare and job training are early beneficiaries from VR’s expanded accessibility. Doctors can perform remote surgery simulations. Workers can safety practice dangerous equipment operations. Stroke recovery and PTSD treatment leverage VR’s therapeutic promise.
Of course, VR metaverse platforms like Meta Horizon Worlds remain works in progress. But growing comfort with virtual environments – for play, creativity and human connection – has lowered barriers for mass adoption as prices and form factors improve.
2023 sets the stage for VR/AR to evolve from early adopters to 100+ million users in the next 5 years. The foundations of the next great computing platform are taking shape.
Folding Form Factors Find a Fanbase
After years of hype without mainstream success, foldable devices turned a corner in 2023 – especially in the smartphone market.
Samsung led the charge as their 4th generation Galaxy Z Flip and Z Fold increased durability, refined designs and lowered prices while offering more screen real estate. Motorola, Oppo, Xiaomi and others released foldables that suggest the form factor is here to stay. Rumors suggest Google and Apple will soon join the party.
OnePlus conceptualized tri-fold displays that expand from phone to tablet size. Intel showcased a foldable laptop display spanning 17 inches. Foldable screens still battle creasing and durability limitations but let devices morph to serve different use cases.
Global foldable display shipments are projected to grow 10-fold by 2025 to over 50 million units worth $29 billion in sales. Early folding devices carried premium price tags over $2,000 – but costs are falling quickly. Xiaomi and Oppo have introduced models under $1,000 as volume scales up.
Consumers are responding positively to the portability and versatility of foldables. Screens that fold to pocket size for mobility then unfold for immersive content are resonating. Foldables only comprised 1-2% of smartphone sales in 2023 but should hit double digits by 2025.
Between foldable phones, laptops and tablets, flexible display technology promises to fundamentally evolve device design for the next decade.
Outlook for 2024
If the hectic pace of technology change in 2023 is any indicator, consumers and enterprises should brace for another dynamic year of emerging tech in 2024:
- AI regulation will advance in the U.S., EU and China
- VR/AR headsets will push toward 25M+ annual sales
- Foldables will surpass 10% smartphone market share
- ChatGPT rivals will challenge market dominance
- Autonomous driving tech will expand
- Global 5G subscribers will double
- Crypto winter will extend through 1H 2024
- SpaceX satellite network will come fully online
- Twitter will get acquired
- Quantum computing milestones will make headlines
The only true constant is change – especially in the world of technology. As visual interfaces, mobility, connectivity and intelligence advance, tech will continue embedding itself ever deeper into every facet of life.
To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.